Category Archives: Restaurant News

REVIEW: Plates Neighborhood Kitchen- Raleigh, NC

“Globally Inspired. Locally Produced.” That is the motto and exactly what you will find at Plates Neighborhood Kitchen, a new restaurant in the Glenwood South neighborhood near downtown Raleigh. Plates opened November 1st and you will need to make reservations if you plan to go during the weekend. The atmosphere is comfortable and welcoming. The food is elegant yet the prices are reasonable. The servers and bartenders are helpful and friendly. What more could I ask for?


I went with two friends on a Friday night and we did not have reservations but luckily there were three seats open at the bar. The bartenders were very personable and we had a great evening. I started out with a lavender julep which was carefully made and thoroughly enjoyed. For dinner I ordered a smoked salmon and leek salad with a citrus vinaigrette. I would definitely order it again!


My friend ordered chicken with grits and kale. He especially enjoyed the grits and finished every last bit. For dessert, I saw that Plates had a persimmon creme brûlée. I don’t usually eat creme brûlée but I love persimmons, so I ordered it. I also tried some port with my creme brûlée. It was a perfect dessert.



The menu changes often because Plates uses fresh ingredients that they try to source locally whenever possible. You can expect local food with an international inspiration, served by friendly people.

The menu provides just a few options which is nice because you won’t be overwhelmed with choices. Until it comes to dessert… chocolate chess pie, creme brûlée, sticky toffee pudding and cheesecake.

Check out the New Year’s dinner menu at Plates.

I hope you enjoy Plates as much as I did.


Plates Neighborhood Kitchen on Urbanspoon


LINK: Taste, on Tour at Watt’s Grocery in Durham

Photo Credit: Joe Kwon –

I have no idea how I have missed Joe Kwon’s food blog called Taste, on Tour. He plays cello for a band, The Avett Brothers, that has been on constant rotation on my iPod for the past four or five years. Kwon has been playing with The Avett Brothers since they asked him to join them in the studio on their album, Emotionalism, which would be a part of my “My Top Five Desert Island Albums” list for a blog post if I ran a music blog. He has been playing with them ever since and traveling from city to city on their massive nationwide and international tours. I am a little envious of him and all the places that he gets to visit while on tour.

On Taste on Tour, Kwon blogs a lot like we do (except he also has posts a lot about his exploits in his kitchen which is our next step in North Carolina food domination). He doesn’t review places. Instead, he shares places that the restaurants that he enjoys with the readers and posts about them. He doesn’t critique the restaurants nor does he need to because his food-tography speaks for itself. This guy knows good food.

Kwon was born in Korea but his parents moved to  High Point by the time he turned one. He grew up in North Carolina but left for boarding school during high school. He came back here when he attended UNC-Chapel on a music scholarship. Growing up in North Carolina and touring with his North Carolina-based folk rock group has led to an impressive archive of blog posts about restaurants across the world with a heavy concentration of them in the Old North State.

Kwon was asked to create some limited-time menu items for the Laurel Market Deli in Charlotte using The Avett Brothers as inspiration. He created three signature sandwiches including the Kick Drum Heart, the Pretty Girl and the Gimmeakiss (descriptions below). I’m not sure how much longer these items will be on Laurel Market’s menu but I hope to give them a try the next time I am down in Charlotte. Kwon definitely came up with some cool sandwiches.

  • Gimmeakiss (Genoa salami, pastrami, mayo, jalapeno, sweet pickles, cucumber, red onion, fresh cilantro on a baguette)
  • Kick Drum Heart (avocado, an egg over easy, spicy mustard, Bibb lettuce, tomato, salt & pepper on toasted sourdough
  • Pretty Girl (prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, horseradish sauce on cranberry walnut bread)

We hope that Kwon will think about joining us at a local restaurant in Greensboro when The Avett Brothers come play Greensboro Coliseum’s new White Oak Amphitheatre in October. He has already hit up a few of our favorite places like Sticks & Stones (review coming soon), Lindley Park Filling Station and Banh mi Saigon (need to go again soon and take some pictures) but I have a couple of other great places that he definitely needs to try out in Greensboro.

Check out Joe Kwon’s blog post about Watt’s Grocery in Durham on…


The Big Brew Ha – April 15th – Charlotte

What is better than breakfast for dinner…and beer? I can’t think of much. That is why I am pretty stoked about The Big Brew Ha event happening in uptown Charlotte on April 15th (Friday) at the Mint Museum Uptown. They will be serving local beer, coffee and tea as well as gourmet breakfast items from Charlotte eateries like Amelie’s French Bakery, the Harvest Moon Grille, the Healthy Home Market, Dean & DeLuca Market Cafe and The Flying Biscuit Cafe, If the weather permits, they will be serving the breakfast under the moonlight on the terrace.

There will be some fun things to do at the event including a balloon pop where attendees can win prizes like restaurant gift certificates or tickets to events like Opera Carolina’s H.M.S. Pinafore. They will also be having a “Brew Pong” tournament with a grand prize (T.B.A.) and will have some live music. The details are still being worked out so stay tuned for updates.

Tickets to The Big Brew Ha cost $60 and can be purchased on the website: but you have to be 21 years old to attend. Attendees will receive a pilsner glass or coffee mug to fill up throughout the evening…go ahead lock me in for a pint glass! All proceeds from this event will go towards the preservation of St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Tryon Street which is one of the oldest buildings in the neighborhood and the oldest on Tryon Street.


Taste of Carolina Craft (Beer) at Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill

Last night, I went up to Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill in Greensboro for some dinner and drinks with my buddy, Elliot. It was his first time up there and I think he had a blast. He is a huge Carolina fan and spotted Woody Durham, the voice of the Tar Heels, in the restaurant. Darryl’s is located right down the street from the Greensboro Coliseum where this year’s ACC Tournament is taking place and right in the heart of the majority of the hotels where the teams and fans are staying making it a great place to eat during the tournament.

While Elliot and I ate, I spoke with Brock Kehoe, Darryl’s beverage manager, at the bar and he told me that they were expanding their already impressive beer list by adding to both their draft and bottle selections. Brock mentioned that Jeff LeVine, the vice president of Carolina Craft and pictured above, was stopping in to let Brock sample a variety of the beers that his company distributes in North Carolina. Brock invited me to sit down with them and sample the beers that Jeff brought with him.

None of the beers that we sampled were from almost all from California breweries with the exception of two beers but they can all be purchased in North Carolina. Jeff told me that all of the beers we sampled could be bought at Bestway, my favorite spot in Greensboro for beer.

Here is what we sampled:

All the beers were great but Bear Republic’s Hop Rod Rye and Coronado Brewery’s Islander IPA were the ones that stood out most to me. I have been all about hoppy beers recently and these two both had a great kick to them. The Wexford Irish Cream Ale was one of the more beautiful beers that I have seen in a while with carbonation swirling throughout the glass after each sip. It was pretty damn tasty, too.

If you can find any of these beers in a store around you, it is definitely worth while picking up a 6-pack of any of them.


Garden & Gun’s 100 Southern Foods You Absolutely, Positively Must Try Before You Die – North Carolina Selections

Credit: Garden & Gun Magazine

Garden & Gun Magazine put out a great list in 2008 called 100 Southern Foods You Absolutely, Positively Must Try Before You Die with some of the best dishes at restaurants in the South. I have eaten about six or seven of the Garden & Gun selections but I still have a long way to go. Hopefully, I can knock out quite a few when I take a road trip down to New Orleans in a few months for one of my best friend’s bachelor party.

The lists included some very drool-worthy descriptions of things like fried chicken from Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans, fried green tomatoes from Arnold’s Country Kitchen in Nashville and the fried peach pie at The Varsity in Atlanta. I was fairly disappointed in their North Carolina selections. They weren’t bad choices but I just didn’t think there were enough from the Old North State. Only one North Carolina seafood selection and they chose something that isn’t even technically seafood?!?!? North Carolina got two meat selections but none were for North Carolina barbecue.

Here are the North Carolina foods that Garden & Gun thinks you absolutely, positively must try before you die:

  • Snappy Lunch – Pork Chop Sandwich (Mt. Airy)
  • R.O.’s Bar-B-Cue – Slaw Burger (Gastonia)
  • Sunburst Trout Farm – Trout Caviar (Canton)
  • Zada Jane’s Corner Cafe – Grits with Butter (Charlotte)
  • Biscuitville – Buttermilk Biscuits (Greensboro)
  • Skylight Inn – Pigfat Cornbread (Ayden)
  • Carrboro Farmers’ Market – Muscadine Meringue Tartlette (Carrboro)

Garden & Gun definitely missed a lot of great dishes in our state. Which North Carolina ones would you add to the list?

Skillet Fried Chicken Tuesdays at Lucky 32 in Greensboro

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Greensboro has a new Tuesday night special that I think will have foodies coming out for a taste of the South. Every week on Tuesday, they will be cookin’ up some skillet fried chicken (breast, leg and a wing per order) that is pan-fried in Cane Creek’s locally-rendered pork fat served with mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, collard greens and a hunk of dipping cornbread for $17. It is a bit pricey for a fried chicken dinner but the quality of the meal that Lucky 32 will put it front of you will be well worth it.

If that doesn’t make your heart stop, Lucky 32 will also have singer/songwriter Laurelyn Dossett performing some great Southern music from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. in the restaurant. Dossett has been associated with the North Carolina Symphony, the local music and regional folklore from multiple plays at Triad Stage and her band, Polecat Creek. Levon Helm, one of the original members of The Band, covered her song, “Anna Lee”, on his Grammy-winning album, Dirt Farmer. She has also performed on Prairie Home Companion and at MerleFest.

If you consider good fried chicken to be KFC or Bojangles’ then I implore you to save up some cash and head up to Lucky 32 on a Tuesday to see what real skillet fried chicken tastes like.

Real fried chicken doesn’t come in a bucket!

Pulliam’s in Winston-Salem ranked “Best Hot Dog in the South”

Congratulations to Pulliam’s Barbeque in Winston-Salem because, according to the Winston-Salem Journal, they have been named the best hot dog in the South by Every Day with Rachel Ray Magazine. I have never really been a huge fan of Rachel Ray. Her personality kinds of pisses me off a little bit because she is overly peppy and her catch phrases really grind my gears. However, she does cook a lot with hot dogs with slightly disgusting recipes like Mac and Cheese Dog Casserole and Hot-Dog-a-Bobs so I guess we should consider her somewhat of an expert in this area.

However, she wasn’t actually the one touring the country and tasting the dogs. Every Day with Rachel Ray hired out the job to three bloggers over at, one of our favorite foodie sites, to travel the country and find America’s best hot dog. It sounds like an awesome job (which I would gladly accept…hint hint…) but it might be a little while before I wanted to eat a hot dog again…no matter how good it is.


Pulliam’s specializes in the Southern style dog: mustard, chili, slaw & onions. They serve a classic Southern red dog then grill/char the bun and add a little bit of their homemade hot sauce (optional). If you crack up a bottle of Cheerwine alongside that, it sounds like you’re pretty much in hot dog heaven. The Roast Grill in Raleigh and Pauly Dogs in Durham also made the brackets but got knocked out in the first and second round, respectively.

Thanks to Yarddawg for passing this one along to us! We are going to Pulliam’s Barbeque to give their dogs paired with a bottle of Cheerwine soon so stay tuned for a review in the next month or two.


Do you feel like your favorite North Carolina hot dog spot got left out? Post a comment below and let us know so we can check it out!

J S Pulliam Barbeque Incorporated on Urbanspoon

Goat Lady Dairy – Spring ’11 Dinner Schedule

The Goat Lady Dairy in Climax (Randolph County) just announced its Spring Dinner schedule for 2011.  I have heard a lot of great things about these dinners but I haven’t been able to make it out to one yet. You can find Goat Lady cheese at a variety of restaurants and specialty food shops throughout the Piedmont Triad. Using sustainable agriculture, Goat Lady Dairy works with nature to enrich rather than deplete the environment. They intentionally limit the size of their farm operation in order to maintain the personal quality of their products. They make approximately 250 poudns of handmade farmstead cheese each week.

Sadly, the founder and namesake of Goat Lady Dairy, Ginnie Tate, passed away in 2009 after battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease for three years. Her brother, Steve, along with his wife, Lee, and their sons, Nathan and Gareth, now run the farm and continue to put on the same events that Ginnie had when she was running the farm.

Goat Lady Dairy is located on 60 acres where they carefully hand craft cheeses from the combined herd of 50 Saanen, Nubian and Alpine dairy goats with the 60 dairy goats at Wilderness Trail Dairy also in Randolph County. The goat care and milking happens there and all the cheesemaking is done at Goat Lady. They also purchase organic cow milk from Lindale Organic Dairy to produce raw milk aged cheeses. Like a fine vintage wine from a small vineyard, all of their hand made cheeses have a special flavor with subtle qualities found only in local dairies.

Downtown Winston-Salem’s The Big Eat 2011

Raleigh and Durham aren’t the only cities in the state that are trying to get people to get off of their kitchen table and into a new restaurant in the area with the Triangle Restaurant Week right now.

Winston-Salem is currently in the middle of its own event called “The Big Eat” that is put on by the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership. Every Tuesday from January 4th until February 22nd, participating downtown restaurants are inviting customers to come in and try their signature dish at 50% off so they can literally get a taste of all the various things that downtown Winston-Salem has to offer.

A few of the restaurants that are participating in “The Big Eat” are Mozelle’s Bistro (pan seared scallops for $11.50), Wen Hwa Asian Fusion (Singapore street noodles with shrimp and chick for $4.95) and Kernel Kustard (50% off their chicken vesuvio sandwiches)…but that is just to name a few.

Here is the list that I have found of participating restaurants:

– 6th & Vine
– Bayberry Bistro
– Bib’s Downtown
– Breakfast of Course, Mary’s Too!
– Brew Nerds
– Caffé Prada
– Chelsee’s Coffee Shop & More
– Christopher’s
– Downtown Thai
– Finnigan’s Wake
– Foothills Brewing
– Fourth St. Filling Station
– Hutch & Harris
– Kernel Kustard
– Mellow Mushroom
– Meridian
– Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe
– Mozelle’s Bistro
– Noma Urban Bar & Grill
– Rana Loca
– Soup’s Orchid Vietnamese
– Screaming Rooster
– Sweet Potatoes… a restaurant
– Twin City Chop House
– Wen Hwa Asian Fusion
– Willow’s Bistro
– Wolfie’s Frozen Custard
– WS Prime- A Cafe

This is a pretty stout list of great restaurants in Winston-Salem. I’m definitely going to try to make it over to the Twin City to check out “The Big Eat” and do a review of one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Anyone have any recommendations?

Our State’s Guide to Breakfast in North Carolina


There are few things in this world that I love more than a good breakfast. I am not just talking about Waffle House’s All-Star Special or Denny’s Grand Slam even though I love both of those. I am talking about the family-owned places that North Carolinians just can’t get enough of. I have only tried one restaurant on Our State’s list but if the rest of the breakfast places are anything like Smith Street Diner and their massive biscuits and apple butter in Greensboro, you are in for a treat.

Our State has included a wide variety of places on their list including Capt’n Jim’s Seafood Restaurant in Sneads Ferry where you can fried flounder with fried eggs and grits and Ward’s Dairy Bar & Grill in Saluda (which just recently reopened) where you can try Ward’s legendary homemade sausage. I haven’t been to either of these but I have the feeling that all of these places will be on Eat It, North Carolina’s Restaurant To-Do List very soon! has put together a really cool interactive map of the breakfast places where you can see each the location of each restaurant in North Carolina . You can even download and print a PDF of a checklist of all of the restaurants that they recommend that includes addresses and dishes not to miss.

My only issue with this checklist is that I wish that Our State had put in a section about which of these places serve breakfast all-day long or what hours that they serve it. Make sure that you call ahead and get that information because there is nothing worse than going to a restaurant for breakfast when you really, really want it only to be told that they are no longer serving it and you can only order from the  lunch menu.

Make sure that you pick up the January 2011 issue of Our State Magazine as a travel companion so you can salivate over what you are about to eat as you travel around the state to these places!

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